That's why it's essential for those of us who care about leadership development to custom tailor our teaching to the people in the room. We need to understand their goals and challenges. I have long believed (and written) that leadership is personal, so it stands to reason that leadership workshops can't be cold, academic and impersonal events.
But even as I prepare by learning about the group I'm teaching, I also know that there are topics that people ask for, time and again, and sessions that inevitably get the highest marks in post-seminar evaluations. So, as you are looking to develop your own leadership learning agenda, you may want to pay attention to these topics:
- What "leadership style" really means
- Feedback with impact
- Tough conversations with good outcomes
- Coaching, not fixing: the people
- Coaching, not fixing: the product
- Motivation and morale
- Change management - and accelerating change
- Collaboration and breaking barriers
- Strategic and critical thinking
- Ethics, integrity and trust
- Leading a diverse workforce: generations, gender, ethnicity
- Emotional intelligence
- Managing up, down and across
- Communication skills, from deep listening to powerful presentations
- Creating and sustaining the best culture
One of the most important things I've learned in recent years, however, is the need to "teach in the moment." Often, I work with an organization to analyze what's working best, as a way to show people how successes can be deconstructed to show the assumptions, values and choices behind them, and how to apply that knowledge to other goals and challenges in the workplace. That kind of meaningful conversation and teaching doesn't happen if a workshop leader just drops in with a few already prepared teaching pieces. You need to build a special framework for a focused discussion that then leads to interactive and on-point teaching.
It's what I love best about my work: helping aspiring leaders build on what works and discover ideas to address their personal and organizational challenges.